Nuremberg Zoo

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Nuremberg Zoo
Nuremberg Zoo Logo.svg
motto Every moment different.
place Am Tiergarten 30
90480 Nuremberg
surface 65 hectares
opening May 11, 1912
(since 1939 at Schmausenbuck)
Animal species 308 species (2017)
Individuals 4649 (2017)
Visitor numbers 1,186,352 (2018)
management Dag Encke (director)
Sponsorship City of Nuremberg
Funding organizations Association of Zoo Friends
Nuremberg eV,
JAKO-O ( sponsor )
Member of WAZA , EAZA , VdZ
Foundation for Species Protection ,
Yaqu Pacha
Zoo Nuernberg entrance.jpg

Main entrance of the Nuremberg zoo with a group of figures by the sculptor Philipp Kittler

The Nuremberg Zoo is a 65-hectare landscape zoo on the outskirts of the city of Nuremberg in the Lorenzer Reichswald on Schmausenbuck . Around 300 animal species are kept, including numerous endangered species. The entire Nuremberg zoo and the adjacent area at Schmausenbuck are part of the Natura 2000 network and are designated as a protected area DE6532372, Nuremberg zoo with Schmausenbuck .


Medieval zoo

The tradition of the zoo or the zoo in Nuremberg can be traced back to the Middle Ages. References to the Burggräflichen Tierpark can only be found in the form of place names: The Tiergärtnertor and the adjoining Tiergärtnertorplatz. The wildlife park extended to the Johannis fields in St. Johannis and the Rohleder'schen Garten (today on the grounds of the Klinikum Nord ). One can only guess at the usage.

Old zoo at Dutzendteich 1912 to 1939

Founder share of Tiergarten Nürnberg AG from June 30, 1911

The Nuremberg Zoo was opened on May 11, 1912 on the grounds of the Bavarian State Exhibition of 1906 at Luitpoldhain (coordinates: ). The zoo was designed with artificially modeled landscapes based on the model of Hagenbeck's zoo in Hamburg. It was very popular with the public (over 800,000 visitors in 1913) and, unlike other zoos, survived the First World War, high inflation and the global economic crisis without being closed.

Tiergarten am Schmausenbuck since 1939

After the seizure of power by the NSDAP the end of the original zoo announced itself in 1934, since the area the expansion plans of the Nazi Party Rally Grounds on Dutzendteich stood in the way, in February 1939 finally the old zoo was closed. In May 1939, after a two-year construction period, the new zoo was opened as a landscape zoo on a wooded rocky landscape at Schmausenbuck . During the Second World War almost all buildings and enclosures were destroyed by air raids. The reconstruction, from 1950 under the direction of the director Alfred Seitz , was completed at the end of the 1950s. Since then, new systems have been and are still being built on the large site. In April 1998, a short circuit in the terrarium caused a fire in which four tree pythons and four monitor lizards died.

With 65 hectares, the zoo of the city of Nuremberg is one of the largest zoological gardens in Europe, it is the second largest in Germany. It is characterized by generous forest and meadow landscapes with ponds and former stone quarries that have been redesigned into spacious, natural enclosures. With mostly over one million visitors per year (1,135,515 in 2017), it is well received by the population; the catchment area extends far beyond the city limits.

Around the turn of the millennium, some previously criticized facilities were rebuilt, such as the gorilla facility (new outdoor facility since 1997, 1,300 square meters) or the so-called aquapark opened in 2004 ( polar bears , Humboldt penguins , California sea lions ). There were also new facilities such as the large enclosure for the snow leopards (2004), the outdoor area for the bottlenose dolphins and a new tropical hall (lagoon and manatee house , opening 2011).


  • 1912–1945: Karl Thäter
  • 1945–1950: Karl Birkmann
  • 1950–1970: Alfred Seitz
  • 1970–1990: Manfred Kraus
  • 1991-2004: Peter Mühling
  • 2004: Helmut Mägdefrau (Acting Head)
  • since 2005: Dag Encke

Species protection and breeding programs

The zoo participates in more than 30 European Conservation Breeding Programs (EEPs) and in various reintroduction projects for animals in the wild, for example Ural owls and Przewalski horses ( primeval wild horses). The breeding programs for black-backed tapirs and Caribbean manatees are coordinated in Nuremberg.

The Nuremberg Zoo supports organizations that advocate the protection of endangered species. One example is Yaqu Pacha , a society that was founded in 1992 in Nuremberg Zoo with the aim of protecting the aquatic mammals of South America and preserving their habitats.


In 2015, a total of 3431 individuals from 286 different animal species were kept in the zoo, including around 80 species of mammals and just as many species of birds . In order to be able to keep mammals and birds species-appropriate, the number of species has been restricted in recent years.


Brown Makis ( Eulemur fulvus ), white-handed gibbons and western lowland gorillas ( Gorilla gorilla gorilla ) are kept in the monkey house, which dates back to 1939 but has since been rebuilt several times . Fritz was the oldest male gorilla kept in a European zoo. He died at the age of about 55 on August 20, 2018. Attached is the 2000 m² gorilla outdoor facility. Bolivian squirrel monkeys are housed in the giraffe house and have access to a small, tree-lined island in the open air. Guinea baboons and barbary macaques live on monkey rocks in the entrance area .

Large mammals

In the elephant house, which dates back to 1939 but has since been rebuilt, no elephants currently live, but three Indian rhinos . After the Indian elephant Kiri could not be raised after a fall and had to be put to sleep in August 2007, the African elephant Yvonne was left alone. In July 2008 she moved to the Rostock Zoo because of her age , as the climb to her enclosure in the zoo had become too difficult and she had a new companion in Rostock in Sara . On April 23, 2009, she was put to sleep there because she could not get up on her own.

For a while, the male Kulan (“Asian donkey”) Marco was quartered alone in the former elephant enclosure , and he repeatedly attacked the women of the camel, some of whom were still very young, who were socialized with him and his fellow animals.

In the meantime the enclosure has been redesigned and is now also available to the rhinos. When the zoo will start keeping elephants again has not yet been determined.


Amur tigers and Asiatic lions are kept in the predator house, which is built into the sandstone cliffs and entered through a tunnel . Both types have outdoor enclosures that are separated from visitors by moats.

A spacious outdoor area is available to the snow leopards . With cheetahs , colored martens and mane wolves more, some rare predator species are kept. In the former enclosure of the Spanish wolves, Eurasian lynxes are shown after a renovation. After the spectacled bear husbandry came to an end, their enclosure was rebuilt and stocked with fish cats in spring 2015 .

In addition to Humboldt penguins, the aquapark also houses water-dwelling predators such as otters , California sea lions , seals and polar bears . In the Natural History House there is a natural facility for zebra mongoose . Meerkats have also been living in Nuremberg since 2013 . Together with fox mongooses, they live in a new facility that opened in July in the vicinity of the giraffes .


Characteristic of the landscape zoo are the extensive ungulate enclosures in which, in addition to reticulated giraffes , guanacos and deer ( Dybowski deer , elk , David deer , Prince Alfred deer , reindeer , Chinese muntjac ), numerous horned animals can be seen: prairie bons , bison , cape buffalo , Eland antelopes , Mendes antelopes , Nilgau antelopes , stag goat antelopes , Alpine ibex , mane sheep , Mishmi takins , goiter gazelles and yellow -bridge duikers . A focus of the zoo are the equidae , which are kept in five wild forms, Somali wild ass , Grevy's zebra , Boehm's zebra , Przewalski's horse and kulan .

Tropical forest-dwelling ungulates such as black-backed tapirs , lowland tapirs and brush-eared pigs are housed in the tropical house.

In addition, various domestic animals such as Scottish highland cattle , dwarf zebus , trample , alpacas , Poitou donkeys , redhead sheep , Cameroon sheep and dwarf goats are kept, which can be seen in the children's zoo and some of them can be fed.


The rodents are represented by Alpine marmots , golden agoutis , degus , giant rabbits and European ground squirrels . A group of black-tailed prairie dogs lived at the old hippopotamus house, but disappeared after the winter of 2014/2015.


The marsupials are represented by the Eastern Gray Kangaroos . They are housed in a communal facility with an emu.

Dolphins and manatees

The Nuremberg zoo opened a dolphinarium in 1971 , the only one in Germany besides the one in Duisburg Zoo . In addition to demonstrations for the zoo visitors , breeding, research and, more recently, dolphin therapy with handicapped children play an important role as a project of the University of Würzburg . Since an expansion, the system consists of two parts; In addition to the Dolphinarium I , which is used, among other things, for demonstrations, there is also a Dolphinarium II in the depot as a research and rearing station. This area is not open to the public. Bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions are kept in the dolphinarium .

In July 2011 a large outdoor facility with a submarine landscape in the manner of a salt water lagoon was completed; the project became known as Lagune 2000 and has been called Dolphin Lagoon since the end of 2004 . Right from the start, the project was exposed to strong criticism from individual animal welfare organizations, which fundamentally reject the keeping of dolphins in zoos.

Several construction defects came to light in the dolphin lagoon. In particular, salt water leaking from the basin is a threat to the surrounding soil. The water level was temporarily lowered to contain the damage; in the long term, the system is to be renovated. The measures should last from 2015 to around 2018. The former Dolphinarium II is put back into operation as an alternative quarter for the dolphins .

For the Caribbean manatees , the large manatee house with a tropical climate was built next to the dolphin lagoon. White-faced sakis , various South American species of butterflies and birds, blossom bats and poison dart frogs also live in the accessible facility . In addition, the manatee house is home to a colony of leaf-cutting ants .

Criticism of the dolphin keeping

The Nuremberg Zoo currently (2020) has six female dolphins. Two of them are wild-caught, caught in America in 1985 and 1990.

The zoo has been criticized by animal rights organizations for many years. While numerous German zoos and amusement parks have stopped keeping dolphins, the Duisburg and Nuremberg zoos are continuing to keep dolphins. Research shows that the marine mammals in Nuremberg are partially treated with the psychotropic drug diazepam , however, according to the zoo, these medications are used exclusively for transport or pain relief purposes, as well as, in small doses, as an appetizer, a long-term treatment to keep the dolphins "calm." to ask "is not necessary.

The daily shows in the dolphin lagoon, where the animals perform circus-like tricks and jumps with music, are also criticized. However, these are based on natural movements and serve the animals as an activity and opportunity to move.

Research has shown that dolphin therapy mainly has a short-term psychological effect that can also be induced with other animals.

The Bavarian Animal Rights Action Group has been campaigning against the Nuremberg Zoo since November 2019. With a petition to the mayor, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the zoo director, they are demanding that dolphin husbandry be ended in the long term and that breeding be stopped.


In the aqua park, various animal species are shown that live in the area of ​​water. In the heart of the facility is a pool that is inhabited by seals and California sea lions. The aquapark also includes a facility for penguins. Furthermore, two species of predator are shown, the polar bear and the otter.


The Nuremberg zoo keeps several species of birds of prey, such as harpies , giant sea eagles , Andean condors , bearded vultures , Egyptian vultures , and snow vultures and can in some cases have very successful breeding successes. The owls are represented in the zoo by Ural Owls and Snowy Owls .

In a near-natural pond landscape live next to Flamingos ( Red Flamingo and Chilean Flamingo ) Tschajas Pink pelicans and Dalmatian pelicans and free-flying species such as cormorants , storks , herons , grebes , gulls and many duck species. Black storks and cranes ( white-naped crane , Red-necked crane ) can be seen in open enclosures near the pond landscape.

In the Aquapark, Humboldt penguins can also be observed underwater through a disk. Butterfly finches , desert bullfinches and Senegalese marants live in the desert house, the former hippopotamus house . On the large Africa enclosure, blue-necked ostriches are socialized with zebras and eland antelopes. A large, accessible aviary houses spoonbills , bald ibises and cattle egrets .

After the death of the last Syrian brown bear in 2014, their enclosure was converted into a walk-in aviary up to 17 meters high for bearded vultures . The EUR 255,000 project opened on July 1, 2016. In addition to the birds of prey , the stock includes alpine cairns , alpine crows and jays as well as steppe marmots .

Hyacinth macaw , helmet-hokko , red -beaked coconut , paradise cranes and giant bustards are other bird species that can be seen in the Nuremberg zoo. The Emu entertainment ended in 2017 with the death of the nameless rooster that should have reached the age of 46, the highest age of emus in captivity.

Reptiles, amphibians and fish

Water turtles, spectacled caimans , ball pythons and green tree pythons are kept in the tropical house . In the natural history house you can find Malagasy day geckos , Fiji iguanas, various poison dart frogs , Yemen chameleons and frilled lizards .

Various salt and fresh water fish can be viewed in several aquariums in the interior of the monkey house.

Visitor facilities

Tram connection

The zoo has had its own tram line since it opened. Today line 5 operates here, which has its eastern terminus here.


Since the reopening in 1939, the extensive area has been accessed by a park railway. Since 1964 it has been a scaled-down replica of the Adler , the first German railroad from Nuremberg to Fürth.


There are several restaurants in the zoo, including the Waldschänke restaurant at the polar bear enclosure and the Lagunenblick bistro at the dolphinarium.

Natural History House

In the natural history house, which opened in 1990, there are regular lecture events by the zoo, the state association for bird protection and the nature conservation association .

Outstanding events

Four polar bears are shot

Due to renovation work in the Karlsruhe Zoo , the four polar bears living there - two old females, Silke and Nadine (both 36), and the couple Efgenia (9) and Yukon (10) - were loaned to the Nuremberg Zoo . On March 29, 2000, a stranger opened the enclosure for the animals, whereupon they left. At this time there were visitors in the zoo. The zoo employees were unable to stun the animals because the anesthetic arrows could not penetrate the bears' thick winter fur and layer of fat. As a result, all four bears were shot. People were not harmed.

In retrospect, the zoo management was heavily criticized by animal rights activists and also sued because the killing of the animals was avoidable. On the other hand, the zoo brought charges against unknown persons because militant animal rights activists are said to have broken into the enclosure. The incident has not yet been resolved.

Polar bear with offspring

Former resident of the zoo: polar bear Flocke

The polar bears Vilma and Vera experienced increased media interest in January 2008 because both had offspring. The young of one female did not survive. Animal rights activists expressed criticism of the zoo management and blamed the artificial environment for the two deaths. The zoo management expressly distanced itself from the option of bottle-raising the polar bear offspring - as in the case of the polar bear Knut in Berlin - and thus interfering in the rearing of the young animals. A few days later, the bear Vera carried her offspring out of the rearing cave and ran restlessly around the enclosure, apparently looking for another shelter. Because of this unusual behavior and after dropping the cub several times, the zoo management decided to hand-raise the little polar bear. The polar bear baby was a female. The media interest in the polar bear cub was so great that the city of Nuremberg set up a special website on the Internet. Due to over 8500 suggested names for the boy, the city of Nuremberg's internet server temporarily collapsed on January 12, 2008. On January 18, 2008, a jury decided to give the polar bear the name " Flocke " , which was unofficially used by guards . In total, more than 50,000 name suggestions were submitted, including thousands from abroad (e.g. India, Canada, etc.). In order to be able to use the euphoria surrounding the polar bear cub financially and for the benefit of the Nuremberg zoo, the city of Nuremberg secured selected trademark rights for the name "Eisbär Flocke".

Small pandas killed

Little panda, 2013

On February 18, 2008, two small pandas were killed in the Nuremberg zoo. The fatal injuries were probably caused by a sharp object. Due to the unclear origin of the injuries, the criminal police started an investigation. The public prosecutor's office was also informed.

One of the panda bears was in the outdoor enclosure, the other in the stable. The animals had shared the enclosure with three muntjaks . Injury by the deer was originally ruled out, as the muntjaks had lived peacefully with the kitties since 1998.

In the course of the investigation, no human fault could be proven. Apparently, contrary to the original assessment, the injuries were caused by the muntjaks.

Oldest lowland tapir in Europe

In May 2020, the lowland tapir female Daisy died at the age of 38 in Nuremberg Zoo. The tapir had lived there since 1982 and raised a total of ten young animals. At 38, Daisy was a lot older than her fellow species living in the wild and was also the oldest representative of this species in European zoos.


(in chronological order)

  • Peter Mühling: The old Nuremberg zoo 1912-1939. A chronicle. Nuremberg Zoo, Nuremberg 1987, ISBN 978-3-926760-00-5 .
  • Association of the Tiergartenfreunde Nürnberg eV (Ed.): Manati - magazine of the Association of the Tiergartenfreunde Nürnberg eV and the Tiergarten Nürnberg. Nuremberg since 1996, ISSN  1436-7351 .
  • Helmut Beer: Tiergarten . In: Michael Diefenbacher , Rudolf Endres (Hrsg.): Stadtlexikon Nürnberg . 2nd, improved edition. W. Tümmels Verlag, Nuremberg 2000, ISBN 3-921590-69-8 ( online ).
  • The Nuremberg Zoo - A virtual tour. CD-ROM for PC and Mac. imbiss-media, Nuremberg 2002, ISBN 978-3-00-010598-2 .
  • Lorenzo von Fersen: Dolphinarium guide Zoo Nuremberg. 3rd revised edition. Nuremberg Zoo, Nuremberg 2003, ISBN 978-3-926760-04-3 .
  • The signpost through the Nuremberg Zoo. 31st revised edition. Nuremberg Zoo , Nuremberg 2005, ISBN 978-3-926760-05-0 ( ISSN  1436-4352 ).
  • Nicola A. Mögel, Kerstin Söder: 100 years of the Nuremberg Zoo. (= Exhibition brochure in cooperation with the Nuremberg City Archives). Nuremberg Zoo, Nuremberg 2012, ISBN 978-3-926760-11-1 ( PDF ).
  • Verena-Kristin Helbach, Nicola A. Mögel, Kerstin Söder: Nuremberg Zoo - The Landscape Zoo. Schüling Verlag, Münster 2014, ISBN 978-3-86523-243-4 .
  • Nicola A. Mögel, Mathias Orgeldinger, Kerstin Söder: Nuremberg Zoo - The landscape zoo at Schmausenbuck and its directors. Nuremberg Zoo, Nuremberg 2014, ISBN 978-3-926760-13-5 ( PDF ).
  • Association of Zoo Friends Nuremberg eV (Ed.): The Manatee House - Experience the Amazon in the Nuremberg Zoo. Schüling Verlag, Münster 2017, ISBN 978-3-86523-293-9 .
  • Nicola A. Mögel, Mathias Orgeldinger: Zoo Nuremberg: Art in the landscape zoo. Nuremberg Zoo , Nuremberg 2019, ISBN 3-926760-16-8 .

Web links

Commons : Nuremberg Zoo  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b 2017: A successful year for the Nuremberg Zoo. In: January 18, 2018, accessed August 26, 2019 .
  2. Marco Puschner: Tiergarten achieves the third best result in its history. In: January 17, 2019, accessed August 26, 2019 .
  3. Natura 2000: DE6533471, Nürnberger Reichswald (accessed on June 22, 2013)
  4. ^ Hermann Rusam: Nuremberg's forgotten zoo. In: July 14, 2009, accessed August 27, 2019 .
  5. ^ Armin Schmitz, Arno Metzger: Zoological gardens as corporations. Historical development and financing . Antik Effekten GmbH, Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 3-9806401-2-4 .
  6. Ute Wolf: Alter Tiergarten - A bourgeois dream became reality. In: April 7, 2012, accessed August 26, 2019 .
  7. ^ Nicola A. Mögel, Kerstin Söder: 100 years of the Nuremberg Zoo. Nuremberg Zoo, Nuremberg 2012, pp. 5–6, 15–19 ( PDF ).
  8. 100 years of the Nuremberg Zoo. On: , 2012 (PDF)
  9. Felix Neubüser: Elephants saved from the flames. Fires in zoos. In: Südkurier from November 15, 2010
  10. Stadtlexikon Nürnberg , keyword Tiergarten
  11. Hartmut Voigt: Every zoo needs its decoys . In: Verein der Tiergartenfreunde Nürnberg eV (Hrsg.): Tiergartenzeitung . Edition 11, December 2015. Nuremberg 2015, p. 8 .
  12. press release from January 17, 2013
  13. During a renewed renovation in 2020, the area available to the animals was reduced again due to new safety standards for the moat. Tiergarten: gorilla outdoor facility modernized. Press release of the Nuremberg Zoo from April 20, 2020.
  14. Complete List of EEPs and ESBs ( Memento of the original dated November 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on the EAZA website, accessed on May 16, 2016. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  15. Gorilla Fritz in the Nuremberg Zoo is dead. In: August 20, 2018. Retrieved August 26, 2019 .
  16. Rhinoceros born in the Tiergarten . ( [accessed on May 8, 2017]).
  17. Kiri the elephant is dead. Press release of the Nuremberg Zoo from August 7, 2007.
  18. Nuremberg elephant lady Yvonne died in Rostock. Press release of the Nuremberg Zoo from April 23, 2009 (PDF file, 22 kB).
  19. Sign on the former elephant outdoor enclosure
  20. Fish cats are new to the zoo. Press release of the Nuremberg Zoo from April 10, 2015.
  21. Nuremberg prairie dogs did not survive hibernation., May 28, 2015, based on a press release of May 27, 2015.
  22. July 25, 2011: Controversial dolphin lagoon opens in Nuremberg
  23. Dolphin lagoon: damage balance and solution concept. Press release from the Nuremberg Zoo from July 29, 2015.
  24. Ceta Base | Captive Cetacean Database - Nuremberg Zoo • Germany. Retrieved August 13, 2020 (American English).
  25. Delphinlagune. Retrieved February 8, 2020 .
  26. Nuremberg Zoo: Dolphins pumped full of psychotropic drugs. January 30, 2014, accessed February 8, 2020 .
  27. Philippa Brakes, Cathy Williamson: Dolphin Therapy A collection of facts . January 2008.
  28. Close the Nuremberg Dolphinarium! - online petition. Retrieved February 8, 2020 .
  29. The hippopotamus house becomes a desert house. In: January 29, 2018, accessed June 14, 2020 .
  30. New birds in the desert house. In: Nuremberg Zoo. May 2, 2019, accessed June 14, 2020 .
  31. Syrian brown bear died in the zoo. Press release of the Nuremberg Zoo from July 8, 2014.
  32. Bearded vulture facility opened in the zoo. Press release of the Nuremberg Zoo from July 1, 2016.
  33. Emu senior died in the zoo. Press release of the Nuremberg Zoo from August 29, 2017.
  34. Polar bears shot in the Nuremberg zoo
  35. Dead polar bear babies. Disordered behavior in an artificial world. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , January 8, 2008, archived from the original on January 10, 2008 ; Retrieved January 9, 2008 .
  36. ^ Announcement from the Nuremberg Zoo on January 9, 2008
  37. Nürnberger Eisbär paralyzes server, 6500 suggested names in a few hours (accessed on January 12, 2008)  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  38. ↑ The city ​​of Nuremberg has determined a name: the baby polar bear is now officially called “Flocke”. ( Memento of the original from January 20, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Press release of the City of Nuremberg from January 18, 2008. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  39. ^ Slashed panda bears in Nuremberg Zoo ( on February 20, 2008)
  40. Small pandas are said to have been killed by deer (mirror online on March 4, 2008)
  41. Flachlandtapir "Daisy" died in the Nuremberg Zoo ,, accessed on May 13, 2020

Coordinates: 49 ° 26 ′ 51 ″  N , 11 ° 8 ′ 41 ″  E